KEO News Wire

Laidlaw urges Scotland to maintain focus

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw knows his side must produce an 80-minute performance against Ireland next week after they rounded off a routine victory over Italy in somewhat alarming fashion.

Blair Kinghorn claimed a hat-trick as Scotland dominated at Murrayfield, but the final score was 33-20 courtesy of Italy crossing three times in the final 10 minutes with Simon Berghan in the sin bin for the hosts.

While the visitors’ late flurry of points came with the match well beyond them, Laidlaw acknowledged Scotland cannot afford to be so sloppy when they face the reigning champions.

The scrum-half told BBC Sport: “Against a quality opposition like Ireland, you can’t release a Test match like that. We were well in control and we just gave Italy momentum by being less aggressive at the end and slipping off tackles.

“That will heighten our awareness for next weekend, against a quality team that’s coming here.”

Scotland have now won seven home Six Nations matches in a row since losing to England in February 2016.

Asked if his side can beat Ireland, last year’s Grand Slam winners, Laidlaw replied: “Yes, we can. It’s going to be great being back here at Murrayfield.

“We’re building something really strong here. We’re proud of our record and we want to build on that.”

Sergio Parisse cited Italy’s lack of possession as a key factor after his record-breaking 66th appearance in the competition was soured by defeat.

“It’s a shame because if we have possession, we are dangerous, we can score tries. But I think Scotland really deserved the win,” said the veteran Italy skipper.

“They dominated the game; they had a lot of possession, more than us. We let Scotland have the ball way too much in the first half. You can’t defend all the time.” News wire is powered by opta

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